Monday, November 12, 2012

Her Majesty (su majestad)

Her Majesty (su majestad) by Sandra Fernandez
When you think of a Queen, in all of her majesty, you may envision a highly decorated, intricately dressed, crowned image of a woman with scepter like Queen Elizabeth the First in Coronation Robes by an unknown artist (Queen Elizabeth I).  Elizabeth presents herself in the painting with all the symbols of her God given power and authority. She is perfection, beyond reproach, and perhaps scarcely human.

Contrast this to the new etching by Sandra C. Fernandez, Her Majesty (su majestad).   Sandra gives us the soul of the queen, the very essence of her with the barest of linear elements.  She holds her scepter, she moves forward with history about her in a skirt of words.  She appears to be stitched together, held with threads and yet her energy is substantial.

Detail of Her Majesty (su majestad) skirt
Sandra C. Fernandez is a Latino artist who was born in the USA but spent her formative years in Quito, Ecuador.  In 1987 she returned to live in the United States, and in 1995 she earned her MFA in printmaking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  After coming to Austin in 2004, she came to know us at Flatbed and became an important part of Austin's art community.  Sandra is now a Senior Lecturer at the University of Texas in Austin and also serves as Co-Director of the Guest Artists in Printmaking Program (GAPP) there.

Sandra has made six prints with Flatbed Press and this summer began the seventh, Her Majesty.  Since she is an accomplished printmaker, our collaboration with Sandra involved assisting her with etching, proofing and editioning.  She developed her image from her experience working with intaglio techniques and her use of sewn lines from the constructions, fine art books and sculptures that she fabricates.  She began by cutting her large copper plate into a trapezoid shape, a shape that set the stage for her stripped clean existential figure to dominate its compressed space.   Sandra created lines first by stitching the figure onto paper and transferring the stitching the the plate by pressing the stitching into the soft-ground covered copper plate.  The impressions of the stitching were carefully etched to hold the ink.  The etched figure was printed in two colors:  sepia for the body's lines and red for the scepter and skirt.  Her skirt, which is a chine collĂ© element, is made of stitched together book pages from a 1730's London publication of the State Trials and Proceedings upon High Treason and other Crimes and Misdemeanors from the reign of King Richard II to the end of the reign of King George I.  She lifts her scepter to rule with the history cinched around her waist.  She is Her Majesty.

The edition of 20 prints was signed October 25 and is now available through Flatbed Press or The Gallery at Shoal Creek.  Long Live the Queen.

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